Walnut Grove’s Shawn Meehan (front) has started another band, Trigger Mafia. This local country rocker has put country on the shelf, and is going hard-core rock with this group, releasing their first single last Friday to radio. It started as a way to pass the time during the COVID lockdown, and evolved. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: Langley musician drives rock revival with COVID twist

Trigger Mafia goes straight from the garage to radio with raw lyrics

The country music side of him may have been quashed temporarily due to COVID-19, but the rocker in Shawn Meehan is anything but sedate amid this pandemic.

Going back to his musical roots, this 51-year-old Walnut Grove musician has launched a new band called Trigger Mafia that released its first single to radio on Friday.

Meehan has been gaining notoriety – and awards – in recent years for his work as the frontman of a country band called Me And Mae.

But when the pandemic hit, and the lockdown order came into place, some of the band members – due to self-isolation issues for family – couldn’t join together in a social bubble and safely practise.

“Long story short… there was three of us, and there was room enough for us to socially distance in the rehearsal hall… and well, I’d been living a lifestyle where I was so used to touring and being out of the house, and we were all kind of going bananas, so we thought let’s have some fun and let’s just write some rock music, and jam, and see where it goes. That’s all it started as,” Meehan shared, quickly assuring fans that Me And Mae is not gone – it’s just on hiatus for a bit.

Anyway, sitting around and trying to write lyrics, Meehan described how the trio was looking at the world and “kind of feeling helpless and lethargic, and so we started kind of writing about it.”

He recalled some wise words of his musically inclined step father. Meehan remembered his tales of civil unrest during the 1960s and how he repeatedly told him as a young boy to package those feeling of angst and uncertainty and put them into songs.

“It’s good therapy,” his step-dad would say.

Well, Meehan said, it was good advise and it proved to be a very effective form of therapy. Plus, it was a great chance for himself, along with Ladner’s percussionist Rod Senft, and Mission bass and vocalist Jay Wittur, to burn off pent up energy.

But the end result was much more, Meehan said, noting the response to the new music from those jamming sessions was unexpected.

“Long story short it spiraled into a new project,” explained the guitar-wielding vocalist.

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“So, we have the pandemic to thank for this band,” Meehan said, noting Trigger Mafia officially emerged this past summer.

While he’s not sure where this rock revival project will take them, he said that initial Trigger Mafia trio – joined by East Vancouver keyboardist Karl Oystensen – is currently writing and recording more songs with the hope of releasing a full album to vinyl this spring.

He’s especially pleased with the powerful message contained in their recently released single, Find A Better Way, which is a reflection of the current global circumstances and his quest for a solution to some of the key woes of the world.

“We were kind of looking out at the world and feeling helpless,” when they scribed this particular song, he explained.

“There’s a lot of chaos going on, you know, all over the world. And not just the pandemic, but political chaos, and we were feeling really concerned…,” Meehan recounted.

Overwhelmed a bit by that sense of helplessness, he suddenly went back to those words of his step dad – “put it in a song” – and he did.

“I was feeling like, I’m not a politician, and there’s not much I can do, and I’m just sitting here in quarantine in our rehearsal hall, and I thought – well – sometimes songs can move or change people. So, I thought, I’m just going to write how I feel, and write about the fact that we need to find a better way… I wanted to write a song that promoted peace and love, and one came out like that.”

In fact, Meehan and the band have taken their message a step beyond just their song and accompanying video. They’ve also created a website dedicated to Find A Better Way, which offers four main habits people can learn and master in order to find a better way and encourages interaction and sharing of positive ideas.

“Today’s landscape is more polarized than ever. In order to tackle the most pressing issues of today, we need to come together to find a better way,” Meehan concluded. And by focuses more on the solution, he’s convinced society can get past the problems.

This song went out to radio Friday and while shows and in-person visits aren’t allowed in the “new reality” of COVID, the team is focused on promoting the music, pushing it through third-party streaming and social media, and getting some incredibly positive feedback.

Trigger Mafia hoping to release another single in January or February.

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